WIPWed #122: Enjoying the Process

After my previous post bemoaning my strained relationship with time, I’m doing my best to enjoy this current time… which is mostly being spent growing a baby. The third trimester has been surprisingly pleasant so far. Other than a bit of insomnia and the aches and pains that go along with an ever-growing belly, I’ve felt pretty high energy and optimistic lately. I think it helps that we’re getting close: less than 8 weeks to go. (LESS THAN 8 WEEKS?!?!?!) It also helps that I have a very active kid. I like feeling his kicks, it’s a reminder that this whole thing is happening for a reason. Sometimes it’s super distracting, especially now that I can watch my belly move from the outside. And it definitely helps that I’ve had two baby showers in the past two weeks – celebrating a thing always makes it more fun, am I right?

Last weekend was the shower thrown by my mother-in-law and her sisters. I really lucked out in the in-law department, they’re such a fun, welcoming, warm group of people, and they’re always laughing. There were silly games, a diaper cake, aloe plants as favors for everyone, lots of gifts, and a string of adorable onesies, some of which had been worn by the Fiasco and all three of his brothers! My MIL is the best at hanging on to things and passing them down, it’s super impressive. I’ve spent much of the week since doing more baby laundry and organizing the nursery. This kid already has all the equipment he’ll need, a toy box full of stuffed animals, and a basket full of books! Spoiled rotten, I tell you.

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Slooooooooooooooow shawl progress.

Since all my other knits need some attention at the moment, the only thing I’ve been working on lately is my Beholden shawl. It’s growing slowly, but I’m savoring the process because the camel/silk yarn I’m using is straight-up delicious. My needles are doing an annoying thing where they partially unscrew every few rows, but other than that I’m loving this knit. I do need to make a decision soon about when to switch to the edging pattern. I’ve modified the pattern to be slightly wider (increasing 2 extra stitches every other WS row) so I’m wandering into unknown territory yardage-wise. It would be a shame to run out of yarn as it’s from the UK and would be difficult to get my hands on more of it.

Spinning has not been happening lately, but I am planning to go to my spinner’s guild meeting this weekend and I’m hoping I can finish the yarn I’ve been working on since f*&%#ing October. We’ll see…

I’m sort of in between books right now but just finished reading Mink River by Brian Doyle and it was both fascinating and fabulous. The style was unlike anything I’ve read in quite a while: stories about multiple main characters pieced out in little vignettes interspersed with sections of sensory-rich prose poetry. It was both fantasy and realistic fiction, and it had some great naturalist touches. In short: I really liked it.

Hope you’re having wonderful weeks! Now that the sun’s been out on the regular I’m hoping I can get a decent FO picture of the shawl I finished WEEKS AGO to show you all soon. Linking up with Yarnalong.

 

WIPWed #119: Beholden

The choosing of One’s Next Knitting Project can be so fraught with difficulty. It’s never quite as straightforward as it seems it should be, and often involves as much intuition and gut feeling as rational decision-making. I do my best to be sensible but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. Last week I discussed the three options I was considering for my next ‘luxurious’ cast on. I then narrowed it down to which skein of yarn I wanted to work with the most, but changed my mind about what pattern I wanted to knit. I even put up a poll on Ravelry to help me decide between the new pattern options:

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So many shawls, so little time.

Then I went ahead and ignored the overwhelming vote and cast on whatever the hell I felt like, regardless.

Beholden:

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Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence, click for project page.

I ended up choosing Holden (designed by Mindy Wilkes) for my Kettle Yarn Co. skein of 50% camel/ 50% silk loveliness. While I do really love the Antarktis shawl, I think it’s perfectly suited for high-contrast variegated yarns, and since I have so many of those in stash, I didn’t want to ‘waste’ this more subtle yarn on a pattern suited for variegation when I could use it in something more nuanced. I’ve admired Holden for a long time, but worried that it would be too small for me in the single skein size (I like my shawls big). So I modified the pattern ever so slightly by adding 2 extra stitches on every other wrong side row. This should change the shape from a typical triangle to a slightly elongated triangle, but not all the way to a crescent-shaped triangle. We’ll have to just see how it goes!

Rotted Days:

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Handspun BFL and a mystery singles yarn, click for project page.

While I was deciding on my shawl conundrum, I decided to pick up one of my *ahem* seven *ahem* shawls already in progress and give it a little love. The garter stitch short rows on my Dotted Rays (designed by Stephen West) shawl are getting ever longer, but I’m nearing the end of my second skein of handspun which means I might be in my final wedge. I’m thinking of adding an extra slice of purple at the end just to tie it all together.

That’s all that’s happened knitting-wise this week, it was quite a busy one. As for reading, I’m just about done with A Prayer for Owen Meany, which means I’ll need to decide on my next book soon. Thank goodness that decision-making process is not usually as intricate as a knitting-related one… Linking up with Yarnalong.

WIPWed #118: Looking Outwards

I’m realizing that the level of energy I have lately for social media-type activities has been much reduced. To get a bit existential about it, I feel a bit like I’m looking inwards while this kid inside me grows. It reminds me of the time leading up to finals week during college, when I’d be living in my own head and mentally preparing myself for Big Things To Come, both simultaneously anxious for the time to get here already and slightly concerned about how it all will go down.

Also, I just nap a lot. My Saturday was basically as follows:

  • I’M HUUUUUUUNGRY!
  • eat breakfast
  • watch one tv show
  • eat snack
  • cry over how huge I look in all my clothes (it happens)
  • develop heartburn
  • spend 3 hours at spinner’s guild
  • I’M HUUUUUUUNGRY!
  • eat dinner
  • take a 3 hour nap
  • develop heartburn
  • go to bed

Oh, but it’s such a JOYFUL TIME! *eye roll* I am very much looking forward to the end result, but in the meantime, I’m anxious for it to be over. The only fun part has been feeling the little guy move around, and that’s only when he’s not kicking me directly in the cervix (that’ll get your attention, let me tell you). That said, I am trying to both be patient with myself and my body’s needs, and make a more concerted effort to do the things that bring me joy. Crafting, blogging, etc. bring me joy and I will just need to come up with a better way to time those activities when I’m not so damn tired.

Anyhow, since my last post TWO WEEKS AGO, I finished a few hats, which I will show you this Friday. Therefore, I currently only have two active knitting WIPs to chat about.

Christmas Katniss Socks:

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BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays. Click for project page.

These socks are coming along at a snail’s pace, mostly because I haven’t really been working on them. I do a row here or there when I need some travel knitting but that time was mostly consumed by the hats I finished. Hopefully I’ll make some real progress on these this week.

Sherbet Baby:

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Play At Life Fiber Arts Boundless DK in Pastels, click for project page.

The baby sweater was moving along at a good clip until I hit the border, because I lost part of my yarn swift when I moved in December and was procrastinating winding the next color I needed by hand. I did eventually, and then soon after found the missing part, so yay! However, now I’m procrastinating picking up edge stitches. Finishing techniques are fiddly and not my favorite for easy TV knitting.

Onwards and Outwards:

I’m feeling the urge to cast on something complicated, lightweight, and lacy. I feel like I want to use up some really beautiful yarn, like a yak/silk blend. I think I need a little luxury right now but I’m having a hard time deciding what I want to knit. Here are the three things I am coveting most at the moment:

That purple piece of gorgeousness is the Belmont stole, designed by Tanis Lavallee. I would knit it in 1000 yards of Rewya Fibers Bloom 50% yak / 50% silk yarn that my husband gave me as a gift when we got married. My concern is that it might take me years to actually complete…

This simple little asymmetrical shawlette (Antarktis by Janina Kallio) jumped its way up my queue recently when I was reminded about it by the lovely one that Knitting Sarah is making. That striking skein of Kettle Yarn Co. Westminster in Florence was a reward to myself for finishing the journal publication that resulted from my master’s thesis, and it’s been waiting in my stash for THREE YEARS because I haven’t been able to decide on a pattern special enough for it. I’ve considered the Sundance Scarf and the Shallows cowl, but neither felt exactly right. I’m not sure this is the right one, either, but it would likely get a lot of wear and be a decently quick knit.

Finally, I’ve admired this Ginkgo Shawl, designed by yellowcosmo, for some time now. (Come, admire all the ginkgo things!) I have two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie Socks That Rock slated for it, in Single Cell Dating Pool and What’saabi. Every time spring approaches I am reminded that I want to make this shawl, and this year is no different. Maybe I actually will?

Which would you knit? Linking up with Yarnalong. This week I’m reading A Prayer for Owen Meany and boy, that John Irving is still successfully messing with my head. He’s a crazy good story-teller.

FOFri #43: Kelp-y Kelpie Shawl

I am finally getting around to posting FO pics for this project, begun at the beginning of 2014.

FOFri #43: Kelp-y Kelpie Shawl

Gotta love the bikes in the background… Click for project page.

I’m a huge fan of Jared Flood’s Brooklyn Tweed designs, and this Kelpie Shawl was no exception. As soon as a I saw it, I wanted to knit it, and I knew I wanted to use the BT Loft yarn called for (in Sweatshirt). I agonized over color choices for the contrasting stripes, but in the end decided to use a gradient set I had just received as a gift (Black Trillium Fibre Pebble Sock in Pease). The shawl is constructed in a Shetland style, with the center garter stitch triangle knit first and YO holes along the edges picked up to knit the border afterwards.

Because this is a BT pattern and they love their finishing, there’s also a bit of picking up stitches and adding a garter stitch border to the top of the shawl once complete. This is fiddly but not difficult (although it did prevent me from finishing in time for Rhinebeck). The pattern is well-written and easy to follow. My shawl stalled out for so many months because I used the wrong color to pick up the 180+ edge stitches the first time (I used a contrast color when you were supposed to continue with the main color) and just severely procrastinated ripping out and starting again. The only complaint I have about the pattern is that all that garter stitch in the edging is made by PURLING EVERY STITCH instead of knitting. WTF, Jared? Whatever possessed you to think that was a good idea? By the time I realized what was happening, I was too far in. If I make this again, I’ll throw in a plain knit row somewhere to get on a ‘knit every row’ pattern for the garter stitch ridges.

FOFri #43: Kelp-y Kelpie Shawl | Woolen Diversions

Blocking took all my pins!

The yarn is… different. It is very high on the fluff and squish factor, and very low on the drape and smooth factor, because it is a woolen-spun yarn. Woolen yarns are spun with fibers going every-which-way so that they trap more air and provide more warmth. This also makes them slightly less strong and slightly more prone to pilling than worsted-spun yarns, where the fibers are aligned in the same direction. The Loft is very elastic and has lots of bounce, so the finished garment sort of perches around my neck, rather than drapes. And to be honest, purling hundreds of stitches of this fuzzy yarn with point needles was a tad torturous. It makes a shawl I associate with words like “workhorse” and “cozy” rather than “elegant” and “dressy”. The triangular shawl shape makes it a tad less easy to wear kerchief-style than if it were crescent-shaped due to the shorter wingspan, but it’s still a generous enough size to wrap around my large frame.

All told, I’m glad I knit with Loft, I love the gradient in the stripes, and I’m happily working away on a coordinating hat, so I’m sure this shawl will get a lot of use. Have you knit with a woolen spun yarn before? How did you like the results?

Rhinebeck is Imminent!

It’s here, it’s here! Rhinebeck weekend is here! If you’re in the Kingston area tonight (Friday 10/16), be sure to check out the IndieUntangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show occurring in the Best Western Plus, 503 Washington Ave. from 5pm – 9pm. I created a limited edition Rhinebeck! scent available in both sheep-shaped goat milk soap and lotion bars just for this event.

Rhinebeck is Imminent! | Woolen Diversions

Rhinebeck! soap by Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

I tried to capture the essence of a great fall festival in this scent. It’s autumnal and fruity, with notes of fig, apple, cinnamon, fallen leaves, and mahogany. There are less than a dozen of each, so grab them at the show while you can (any leftover from the festival will be listed in the shop next week).

Rhinebeck is Imminent! | Woolen Diversions

Kelp-y Kelpie shawl

My new Rhinebeck goal is progressing at a steady pace. Thank you for all your kind words on my last post, I appreciate the solidarity and encouragement! I’m one stripe further along than the photo shows, which means I have one final stripe, a garter stitch border, and a top edging to finish before tonight so that it can block and have it ready to hit the road with me tomorrow. We have a lot of driving to do today for Nana’s funeral, so I’m still hopeful that I will finish in time, but it is certainly down to the wire.

If you’re heading up to the festival this weekend, I hope I get a chance to see you there, and if not, I promise to take pictures!

WIPWed #80: Finally, French Cancan

I’m pretty sure I went ga-ga over the French Cancan shawl (designed by Mademoiselle C) from the moment I first saw it sometime in 2013.

Photo copyright SusanneS-vV. Click for pattern page.

The simple, semi-circular garter stitch body paired with a gorgeous lace and cable edging is right up my alley, style-wise. Plus, it’s written for DK weight yarn, which will make a moderately quick and quite snuggly shawl. I coveted it fiercely… but I waited. I had other things to knit, and I needed the right yarn anyway.

WIPWed #80: Finally, French Cancan | Woolen Diversions

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Yaksi DK, colorway Shoqua.

Then last Christmas (over a year ago?!) my darling Fiasco gave me two skeins of the incredible Yaksi yarn from BMFA. It’s a DK weight blend of 60% Merino wool, 20% yak, and 20% silk, and it really is heavenly. (Yak, by the way, is quickly becoming one of my favorite fibers.) I don’t believe Blue Moon carries the DK weight anymore, but they do have it in fingering and you can still get some of the DK at Eat.Sleep.Knit. I knew the yarn would be perfect for the pattern and still, I waited. So many WIPs, so little time, and all that jazz… but I just couldn’t wait any more.

WIPWed #80: Finally, French Cancan | Woolen Diversions

If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Somehow, I’ve interpreted ‘I’m nearly done with my vest’ as ‘I’ve finished a project, I can cast on a new one!’ Clearly, my brain operates with some sort of WIP preservation mechanism in place to prevent me from ever finishing anything and to keep my number of ongoing projects ridiculously high… Oh well. The yarn is making a gorgeous fabric and the garter stitch is nice and soothing so it certainly feels worth it.

How do you justify your startitis? Are you a dedicated knitter or hopelessly distract-able?

IS #81: Worsted Weight Shawls

Now that I’ve finished my Lucy Hat, I’m on the hunt for the perfect worsted weight shawl pattern to knit with the rest of this delectable wine-colored yarn.

Woolen Diversions

Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, colorway Kiss of Cabernet

So I’ve rounded up a bunch of my favorites.

Woolen Diversions

My own photo. Click for project page.

I knit this shawl (Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn) way back in 2010 and I still wear it every season. Worked in Malabrigo Worsted, it is exceptionally cozy. It’s not a super wide shawl (with extra repeats mine blocked to 58″ wingspan) so when I wear it kerchief-style I like to secure the ends with a fun shawl pin (the wiggle one is my favorite), especially since thicker fabric doesn’t drape the same way as lightweight fabric does. I’m talking myself into knitting this one again… but let’s see what else is out there!

Woolen Diversions

Photo copyright CatReading. Click for pattern page.

This one, Flourish designed by Rose Beck, has a very similar feel to the previous shawl, while being just a little bit lacier and more dramatic. It’s conveniently already shown in a deep wine color, too, so I have a pretty good idea of how my finished shawl would look! I’m really liking this one.

Woolen Diversions

Photo copyright KnitJaneKnit. Click for pattern page.

The Dane Shawl, designed by Jane Tanner, is a free pattern that has been in my queue for a long time. I queued it because its simple pattern repeat allows for modification in any weight of yarn, just choose an appropriate needle size and knit smaller or larger as needed! I would also like to give this more curved, shoulder-hugging shawl shape (vs. the traditional triangle) a try.

Woolen Diversions

Photo copyright tincanknits. Click for pattern page.

A similar-but-still-different shawl is Rosebud, designed by Tin Can Knits. The sample was knit in fingering weight yarn, but like the previous shawl, the entire shawl consists of one simple lace repeat that would be easy enough to size up or down for different weights of yarn. I think the rose motif would be especially striking in my wine-colored yarn.

Woolen Diversions

Photo copyright Owlish. Click for pattern page.

And now for something completely different! This beautiful shawl (Loie designed by Beth Kling) is asymmetrically knit from side to side in a textured rib that ends in a lovely cable and lace edging.

Woolen Diversions

Border closeup. Photo copyright Owlish.

Isn’t that border a gorgeous piece of work? It’s knit in DK weight yarn, but just up the needle size a bit and grab an extra skein for yardage insurance and I think it would work wonderfully in worsted. I would likely use some Codex yarn for this, rather than the Zaftig I have, because I like the way I imagine the silk blend would make the stitches shine.

And I can’t leave this post without mentioned this brand-spanking-new bit of loveliness:

Photo copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

This worsted weight shawl is Nacarat, designed by Hunter Hammersen. It’s part of her new collection, Curls, an entire book full of asymmetrical wraps/shawls. The book was put up for pre-order today (at a discount!) and the first 250 people to order get a little goody bag as well, so you know I’ve already bought mine. I can’t seem to NOT buy one of Hunter’s books anyway. There are a whole slew of patterns that I love but I’ll wait until I actually hold the book in my hands before a blab about it any more.

Do you have a favorite worsted weight shawl pattern, or do you prefer lighter weight accessories? What’s been inspiring you lately? Share with us in the comments below!

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